Flight to the future : human factors in air traffic control
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Flight to the future : human factors in air traffic control

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  • English

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      NTL-AVIATION-Air Traffic Control ; NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Human Factors ;
    • Abstract:
      The nation's air traffic control system is responsible for managing a complex mixture of air traffic from commercial, general, corporate, and military aviation. Despite a strong safety record, the system does suffer occasional serious disruption, often the result of outdated and failed equipment. When equipment failures occur, system safety relies on the skills of controllers and pilots. Under these circumstances, safety is maintained by reducing the number of aircraft in the air. Pressures to provide the capacity to handle a greater number of flights in the future and to maintain high levels of safety and efficiency have led to proposals to provide more reliable and powerful equipment and at the same time increase the level of automation in air traffic control facilities-that is, to use advances in technology to take over tasks that are currently performed by humans. Such proposals have raised concern that automation not compromise the safety or efficiency of the system by marginalizing the human controller's ability to provide the necessary backup when disruptions occur. The Panel on Human Factors in Air Traffic Control Automation was convened at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the purposes of gaining an understanding of, and providing recommendations on, the human factors characteristics of the current air traffic control system, the national airspace system, and future automation alternatives in terms of the human's role in the system. The panel's charge divides the tasks into two phases. The first focuses on the current system and its development as a means to: (1) understand the complexities of and problems with the current air traffic control system that automation is intended to address; (2) describe the manner in which some levels of automation have already been implemented; and (3) provide a baseline of human factors knowledge as it relates to the functions of the air traffic controller in the system. The second phase is to assess future automation alternatives and the role of the human operator in ensuring safety and efficiency in the air traffic control system. This report provides the results of the panel's work during the first phase. The link in this record leads to the frontal material of the study, Flight to the Future: Human Factors in Air Traffic Control. By clicking on the Document Homepage button at the end of the web page, the viewer is taken to a page which offers ordering information for the hardcopy book of the study (384p.) and a link to the left to a hypertext Table of Contents from which the viewer can select portions to read as desired on-line.
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